Archive for May 2011

Libraries go Live!

May 27, 2011

A lot has happened in a short time for the Biblioteca Móvil Jehová Jireh.

Our Global Family (MCC) funds started in March and since then we’ve been buying books, materials, and bookshelves to start the 4 libraries. We are blessed to start out with more than 900 donated books that have been collected throughout the years by MCC workers as well as donations from other libraries in Nicaragua.

Each school has held opening celebrations to inaugurate the library. Each celebration has been full of:

Nicaraguan folkloric dances,

poetry readings,

clowns,

piñatas,

reading,

and cute kids!

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Amigos

May 19, 2011

In our (almost) 9 months in Nicaragua, we have been blessed by many wonderful friendships.

We have a great MCC team…

Old picture, but it'll do. Front row: David, Angela. Second row: Liz, Marisa, Christa, Beth, Sandy. Third row: Sarah, Alan, Beth, Laura, Nate, Adam.

We’ve made many friends at church…

At a youth retreat

Pamela and Marcos are our best friends in our neighborhood. We often go out in the evenings to watch street soccer and eat pizza, Marcos and Adam play basketball, Marisa and Pamela do crafty things, they took us to the beach when Katelyn visited, they are buena gente:)…

Marcos y Pamela

Francela, Marisa, Pamela and Ishsha all dressed up for a Christmas dinner

Adam and Marcos' joint birthday party

David and Araceli also go to our church and just welcomed a baby girl into their family

Another David, our compañero at MCC, on a hike to Volcan Masaya

We have also been blessed by a wonderful host family that we can count among our amigos. We don’t have many pictures of them but here is their grandson:

Juan Manuel catching the last minutes of the Real Madrid - Barcelona game on his Nickelodeon Radio

There are countless other amigos that we have made that we don’t have pictures of, and so many more amigos to meet:)

A Visit to Guatemala

May 16, 2011

It has already been several months since Marisa and I went to Guatemala to visit my sister and spend a week with my family learning about Katelyn’s life since August.  What an amazing experience Katelyn is having in Guatemala, Marisa and I were so impressed by the ways that she’s adapted and changed to her new environment.

Catalina showing us how its done

After a long 18 hour bus ride, Marisa and I arrived at SEMILLA/CASAS, the Anabaptist Seminary and language school in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  We had both studied Spanish there before we were married and it was there that our love for the Spanish language, Central America, and each other grew.  Needless to say we excited to see that the seminary had grown and seemed to be flourishing since we were last there.

Beautiful flowers in the entryway of SEMILLA

The next day we finally reunited with Katelyn after 6 months of being apart and later that day we went with her to wait at the airport for my parents and Bryce to arrive.  After a happy reunion and short time in the city we spent most of the week in Katelyn’s quite lakeside village of Santiago, Atitlan.  Katelyn introduced us to her co-workers, host family, and dozens of other friends she’s made over her months in Santiago.  We were amazed by her newly acquired ability to speak not only Spanish but Tzutujil, the town’s native indigenous language, as well.

Familia

During our short week Katelyn gave us a peek into her new world; we were honored by two delicious meals with Katelyn’s host family, given a tour of Santiago with its Catholic Church, Peace Park, and mudslide remnants, and even asked to be judges of a singing, dancing, posing contest invented on the spot by some of the children Katelyn works with in her job.  In addition to all this we also enjoyed being tourists in Santiago and the surrounding area, taking in the beauty of the lake and its volcanoes.

Sunrise on Lake Atitlán

Thank you Katelyn for a wonderful week and for your passion and dedication to the people you are working and living with in Guatemala.  I know you won’t be the same person when you return to the States in a few months and I’m confident that you will have only changed for the better.

What if God was one of us…

May 6, 2011

Sorry for the shameless use of the first line of the 90’s hit song “One of Us” by Joan Osborne to get your attention for reading this blog post, although it does relate somewhat to the content of this post…

It goes without saying that Marisa and I are learning a lot from our new experiences and encounters here in Nicaragua.  We are encountering on a daily basis people who often think and act in ways that seem different or strange to us.  These encounters can be both frustrating and enriching.  One of the most enriching, challenging, and perhaps life-changing things that we’ve encountered here in Nicaragua is the faith and understanding of God from the perspective of the economically poor.  We are relearning what it means to serve the “God of the Poor” and to follow a Savior who came “bringing good news to the poor”. Here in Nicaragua, living among neighbors and fellow Christians who can’t afford many of the things we often take for granted, we’ve begun to get a glimpse of the Christian faith from a different perspective.

The Misa Campesina Nicaragüense/Nicaraguan Peasant Mass has helped me to understand better this “God of the Poor”.  The mass is written from the point of view of rural Nicaraguan farm workers by one of Nicaragua’s most famous singer-song writers, Carlos Mejia Godoy, in collaboration with one of Nicaragua’s most well known catholic bishops, Ernesto Cardenal.  Cardenal founded a small religious community with rural Nicaraguan peasants on the Island of Solentiname in the 1970’s.   The Misa Campesina Nicaraguense is a series of songs that are sung during Catholic mass to guide the worship time.

In addition to being a unique expression of the Christian faith, I also have come to appreciate the mass as being uniquely Nicaraguan.  This comes through in the lyrics, the “Nica” vocabulary and references, and the instruments that are used.  Many of our evangelical Nicaraguan friends, who have many criticisms of the Catholic Church, feel a sense of pride towards the Mass as it represents for them a unique part of their culture and identity.

Following is a YouTube video of a live performance of the “Canto de entrada” or “opening song”, which I think is especially powerful, performed by Carlos Mejia Godoy and his brother Luis Enrique and the lyrics to the song. I will first write them in their original Spanish and then add my own English translation.  Enjoy!

Vos sos el Dios de los pobres,
el Dios humano y sencillo,
el Dios que suda en la calle,
el Dios de rostro curtido,
por eso es que te hablo yo
así como habla mi pueblo,
porque sos el Dios obrero,
el Cristo trabajador.

Vos vas de la mano con mi gente,
luchas en el campo y la ciudad
haces fila allá en el campamento
para que te paguen tu jornal.

Vos comés raspado allá en el parque
con Eusebio, Pancho y Juan José,
y hasta protestás por el sirope
cuando no te le echan mucha miel.

Yo te he visto en una pulpería
instalado en un caramanchel,
te he visto vendiendo lotería
sin que te avergüence ese papel.

Yo te he visto en las gasolineras
chequeando las llantas de un camión,
y hasta petroleando carreteras
con guantes de cuero y overol.

You are the God of the poor,
the human and humble God,
the God that sweats in the streets,
the God with a weather-beaten face.
That’s why I talk to you,
just like my people do,
because you’re the laborer-God,
Christ the worker.

You walk hand in hand with my people,
you struggle in the country-side and in the city
you wait in line out in the worker’s camp
so that they pay you your day’s wage.

You eat shaved ice there in the park
with Eusebio, Panch and Juan Jose,
and you even protest over the sweet syrup
when they don’t pour you enough.

I’ve seen you in the corner store
set up in a haphazard stall
I have seen you selling lottery tickets
and you are not embarrassed by such work.

I have seen you at the gas station
checking the tires of a truck
and even fixing highways
with leather gloves and overalls.